West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has formed a three-member panel to probe allegations of irregularities in the purchase of materials to upgrade the state health infrastructure after the finance department relaxed norms of tender process amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The panel comprising home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, finance secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi and health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam was formed by Banerjee after her office received several complaints of irregularities since the pandemic broke out about five months ago. The state government has allocated over Rs 2,000 crore for health infrastructure upgradation.
"It seems that such alleged irregularities took place after the finance department relaxed the tender (bidding process) meant for upgradation of the state health infrastructure. The Chief Minister is quite upset after the CMO received such complaints," the official said.
The panel will submit its findings to chief secretary Rajiva Sinha. "If the irregularities are proven against anybody, strict action will be taken against the person," he said.
"Most of the money allotted for health infrastructure upgradation was spent in purchasing sanitisers, gloves, masks, PPE kits, ventilators, oxygen and other materials required to upgrade infrastructure of the hospitals, safe homes and health centres," he said.
The West Bengal government had till Tuesday ordered 29.10 lakh PPEs and received 20.48 lakh of them. It has bought 14.90 lakh n95 masks while another 48.80 lakh of regular masks, the health department said. It has also got 37.35 lakh of gloves and 20,000 thermal guns, it said.